Graham cursed at acting DOD chief, declaring himself his 'adversary'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Dems want to abolish Electoral College because they 'want rural America to go away' Overwhelming majority of voters want final Mueller report released: poll Bottom Line MORE (R-S.C.) says he confronted President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification MORE’s acting Pentagon chief in a heated exchange over the administration’s Syria strategy.

Speaking to acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanOvernight Defense: Pentagon lists construction projects at risk from emergency declaration | Officials deny report on leaving 1,000 troops in Syria | Spy budget request nears B Pentagon sends Congress list of projects that could lose funds to Trump's emergency declaration Mulvaney: Military projects impacted by wall funding haven't been decided yet MORE at a briefing at the Munich Security Conference last weekend, the senator said he cursed at Shanahan and declared him an adversary.


Graham described his remarks to Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, saying he told Shanahan that the Trump administration's plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria by the end of April was “the dumbest f---ing idea I’ve ever heard.”

“Well, if the policy is going to be that we are leaving by April 30, I am now your adversary, not your friend,” Graham said he told Shanahan.

Officials told NBC News about the exchange, with some lawmakers saying the briefing left them with less confidence in Shanahan, and one describing the episode with Graham as “pretty tense.”

Shanahan reportedly further frustrated lawmakers by refusing to state his opinion on President Trump’s Syria decision.

A Defense Department official told NBC News that the meeting “ended on a positive note” despite the tense exchange.

Shanahan stepped into the role of Defense chief after James MattisJames Norman MattisMattis returning to Stanford months after Pentagon resignation US-backed fighters capture ISIS militants suspected of killing American troops Nielsen warns US 'not prepared' for foreign cyberattacks MORE abruptly left the administration in what was seen as a rebuke of Trump’s Syria strategy.

Graham has been one of the harshest Capitol Hill critics of Trump’s Syria withdrawal plan. He continued that criticism after the exchange with Shanahan, telling the Post’s Rogin: “After Iraq, not only would this be a mistake, this would be almost an unpardonable sin, in the sense that you know what can happen. This can risk his whole presidency.”